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Noise abatement backlash in JA, not so in foreign land - More calls for entertainment zones locally

Published:Friday | September 1, 2017 | 12:00 AMCurtis Campbell
BRT promoter Hans Mullings (left) with fellow promoter Chris Foster.
Ricky Trooper
Damion Crawford
Patrons at the BRT Weekend All-White Beach Party, held at the Atlantic City Beach and Boardwalk recently.

Jamaican partygoers and event organisers have been very vocal with their disagreements regarding the stipulations outlined by the Noise Abatement Act and the cut-off time for parties.

Several local events that have ended abruptly by police enforcing the Act resulted in patrons leaving disgruntled, or promoters opting to plead with police officers for additional time.

However, upon attending events hosted in the US by Jamaican promoters, it became apparent that more stricter rules are applied there. What was also noticeable was that those patrons and promoters did not protest the decision by US police officials to end the events, unlike in Jamaica.

BRT promoter Hans Mullings, who has hosted events both locally and abroad, agrees that promoters and patrons do save their best behaviour for overseas law-enforcement officials due to a difference in culture. He, however, thinks Jamaica should be held at a different standard as it relates to noise pollution, since music is one of its best assets.

"The music playing loud is the Jamaica I know and that is our tradition. So when people try to change our traditions, it's crap. When the Japanese come and the Europeans come, they love our culture and that is what they come for, because nobody else has it. Our own (Jamaican) Government does not appreciate it and they want to lock it off, because they are trying to be like America," he said.

Mullings also noted that politics has been Jamaica's biggest downfall and not loud music.

"They (the politicians) need to stop following America and try to fit in. It is the same thing with weed. They never wanted to decriminalise it until America decided to do it. Music is all the people have, so give them their music," he said.




Mullings also encouraged the Government to act faster with the creation of entertainment zones, an idea which has stalled repeatedly. According to the promoter, the Noise Abatement Act should not have been passed in the first place, if an alternative wasn't created by the Government for Jamaicans to enjoy their music at will.

Sound system selector Ricky Trooper also shared a similar view. He says playing by the rules is not what made reggae music a global genre.

"If Bob Marley played by the rules, he wouldn't be the brand that he is today. Music is Jamaica and Jamaica is music," he said.

Former People's National Party (PNP) Member of Parliament Damion Crawford, who dedicated much of his time as a minister to the creation of entertainment zones, told The Gleaner that Jamaicans are reluctant to accept the Noise Abatement Act because they feel the rule is not executed objectively.

"In the US, people will obey the noise rule because there is no real bias. If it's even Beyonce hosting a concert, it has to conclude as the law states. But in Jamaica, when a man see Jazz and Blues and Sumfest going until morning, he is going to feel like he ought to be extended the same privilege," he said.

Crawford also believes that a change in Government is what ultimately stalled the allocation of entertainment zones.

"When government changes, policies usually change. If everybody thinks the same, then we wouldn't need two parties. During my run, we had done the sound testing in downtown (Kingston) and Palisadoes, so I don't know what is causing the hold-up (with entertainment zones)," he said.